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J Vasc Surg. 2004 Oct;40(4):752-60.

Long-term survival after vascular surgery: specific influence of cardiac factors and implications for preoperative evaluation.

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Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, University of South Florida College of Medicine, the Surgical Service, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA.



We sought to identify specific determinants of long-term cardiac events and survival in patients undergoing major arterial operations after preoperative cardiac risk stratification by American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines. A secondary goal was to define the potential long-term protective effect of previous coronary revascularization (coronary artery bypass grafting [CABG] or percutaneous coronary intervention [PCI]) in patients with vascular disease.


Four hundred fifty-nine patients underwent risk stratification (high, intermediate, low) before 534 consecutive elective or urgent (<24 hours after presentation) open cerebrovascular, aortic, or lower limb reconstruction procedures between August 1996 and January 2000. Long-term follow-up (mean, 56 +/- 14 months) was possible in 97% of patients. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival data. Long-term prognostic variables were identified with the multivariate Cox proportional hazards model and contingency table analysis censoring early (<30 days) perioperative deaths.


While 5-year survival was 72% for the overall cohort, cardiac causes accounted for only 24% of all deaths, and new cardiac events (myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, unstable angina, new coronary angiography, new CABG or PCI, cardiac death) affected only 4.6% of patients per year during follow-up. High cardiac risk stratification level (hazards ratio [HR], 2.2, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-3.4), adverse perioperative cardiac events (myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, ventricular arrhythmia; HR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.1), and age (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.2-0.6) were independently prognostic for latemortality. Preoperative cardiac risk levels also correlated with new cardiac event rates ( P < .01) and late cardiac mortality ( P = .02). Modestly improved survival in patients who had undergone CABG or PCI less than 5 years before vascular operations compared with those who had undergone revascularization 5 or more years previously and those at high risk without previous coronary intervention (73% vs 58% vs 62% 5-year survival; P = .02) could be demonstrated with univariate testing, but not with multivariate analysis. Type of operation, urgency, noncardiac complications, and presence of diabetes did not affect long-term survival.


Despite cardiac events being a less common cause of late mortality after vascular surgery, perioperative cardiac factors (age, preoperative risk level, early cardiac complications) are the primary determinants of patient longevity. Patients undergoing more recent (<5 years) CABG or PCI before vascular surgery do not have an obvious survival advantage compared with patients at high cardiac risk without previous coronary interventions.

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